After a bodged repair by a local London garage to my swirl flaps and deep concerns about my 2001 BMW 530D Touring I consulted Peter from pmwltd about the condition of my car. My regular mechanic whom I have known for 20 years simply took out my swirl flaps and replaced the shafts with bolts. This at some time later, only (900 miles) caused an ingestion into the chamber and ruined my piston and valves and looked like a very time consuming and costly repair. After completion I took my car to peter at pmw and discussed the works. He had his guys strip out the existing bolts that were very unprofessional and replaced with his swirl flap blanking plates. Now I have heard a lot about these plates and swirl flap damage and I can tell you as an ex AA Patrol man that if not done correctly as Peter has done you will cause serious damage to your beloved engine. This is a guy with a great team and a wealth of knowledge behind them who know their stuff, not your usual bit mechanic who ”
knows a bit about engines”. I drove down from Lewisham London to his workshops in Chelmsford and it only took an hour and was easy to get to. If I was you I would call them for your piece of mind because you know like I do that you don’t want just anyone tinkering with your pride and joy. Its worth the drive knowing your car is in safe and knowledgeable hands at pmw. He,s not a rip off either, he is a very reasonable honest mechanic and cheaper than the main dealers out there. Thanks peter.
“Just to say that if you live close enough and can get there, I would recommend these guys at PMW. Very helpful, professional and understanding. Was having big problems with my ‘07 320i M sport having only owned it for a couple of months but now thanks to PMW the car is running like a dream”
James B. Harlow
For the first time since the inception of the study in 2004 Mercedes-Benz has topped the JD Power initial quality ratings among car brands in South Africa.
The study is a customer-driven measure of problems experienced during the first three to seven months of ownership and examines 228 individual problem symptoms across nine factors: vehicle exterior, driving experience, features/controls/displays, audio/entertainment/navigation, seats, heating, ventilation and aircon, cabin, engine/transmission and ‘other’.
All problems are identified as the number reported per 100 vehicles, with lower scores indicating fewer problems and therefore better quality.
Article continues at Motoring.co.za
Now that the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S has upped the ante with a 385HP engine, awesome PDK tranny, bluetooth and satellite radio capability, has it regained the crown over the new BMW M3?
For a short period of time the M3 had more flexibility and was faster than the 2008 911S.
But now that Porsche has tweaked the 09 version, is it back to the drawing board for the M3?
Is the ‘S’ worth the extra dough?
Read the full article at AutoSpies
Porsche today presented the next generation of the mid-engined Boxster and Cayman sports cars at the L.A. Auto Show. Both cars provide not only more power, but significantly greater fuel efficiency
than their predecessors. Further improving fuel economy and performance is the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe - or PDK for short - double-clutch gearbox.
Newly developed Boxer engines with even more power on even less fuel
A newly-enlarged 2.9-litre flat-six engine develops 255 bhp in the Boxster and 265 bhp in the Cayman, an increase of 10 and, respectively, 20 bhp over preceding models. The 3.4-litre power unit in the S versions, benefiting from Direct Fuel Injection, now delivers 310 bhp in the Boxster S and 320 bhp
in the Cayman S, up by 15 and 25 bhp.
Article continues at CNW Group online
Petrol prices have fallen in recent weeks just as quickly as they rose throughout the early part of 2008. Suddenly I find myself seeing the current price of 94p a litre (an average for Liverpool) and thinking - what a bargain… Considering that only a couple of months ago we were often paying near to £1.20/l, this is quite a significant reduction (yet remember how we all complained when petrol first broke the 90p barrier?)
But one worry I have is that after speculating about reduced numbers of car journeys, no more congestion problems, fewer accidents and tackling pollution while petrol was expensive - we will now simply revert to using our cars just as much as before now that petrol is cheaper. Was all that talk really just short-lived hot air - and have our chances of solving these problems been made significantly slimmer by falling petrol prices?
Well ultimately in these times of economic hardship anything that helps people balance their household budgets and avoid problems of debt and repossesion is a good thing. There is no doubt that the falling petrol prices will provide at least some economic relief - though objectively speaking the savings are unlikley to be significant when taken in the context of escalating mortgage payments, food prices and all the rest of it.
In short; the petrol cuts will make us feel economically better - but won’t actually provide a way out. They will however communicate to the public that the government is pro-active and engaged in alleviating the crisis (petrol is one of the economic benchposts that is disproportionately visible and important to consumers - in other words a symbolic marker of how the general economic situation is doing). By no means is this the sole motivation for the government’s action on petrol prices - but it certainly is a relevant aspect.
Regardless, the point is that for many who switched to public transport in the days of the £1.20 litre, the car will now once more seem like a viable option. It is too early to have accurate data on motoring habits as a result of the price falls, but it will surely emerge in coming weeks. My guess is that we will see a rise in congestion, accidents and pollution - and yet as someone who also ditched the car for the train I find myself thinking; was using the train that much more inconvenient?
The answer for me is; no, and for this reason I’m going to keep pretending that petrol still costs £1.20 (maybe even £1.60 on the chilly and wet days when the walk to the station looks really unattractive), for the simple reason that for a few months at least I saw just how easy it is to alter one’s transport habits for the benefit of the environment. With cheaper petrol prices I might not now save quite as much money as I did then - but since the inconvenience is minimal (and I get more exercise) I figure why stop? In fact I’m off right now to renew my monthly train pass… see you there?
Climbing into a Porsche 911 is always good for one’s spirits. The story with this car is the PDK (Porsche’s dual-clutch automatic) transmission, and I have a few thoughts on that: First, Porsche got the hardest part right, which is to say they tuned the initial clutch engagement for a smooth step-off. If you think that’d be easy, try driving a Lamboghini e-Gear or a Nissan GT-R sometime. Second, the shifts seem really, really quick to me. I don’t know how many milliseconds they quote, but it feels as fast as a Ferrari sequential-manual box.
However, the shift buttons on the steering wheel are super-lame. Here’s how you do a paddle-shift: You mount big-ass levers on either side of the steering column, with left for down and right for up. That’s it. That’s how Ferrari and Lamborghini do it (not to mention Mitsubishi) and it works. But it’s like Porsche can’t admit that the Italians got it right, so they have this weird button system that’s less intuitive and offers the tactility of a PlayStation controller. Come on, Porsche. Just admit that Ferrari knows what they’re doing on this one.
Read more at Automobile Magazine
This comparison is between-inarguably-the two most desirable compact four-door sedans ever built. The limited-production BMW M3 four-door and Mercedes-Benz C36 are each so fantastic, so fundamentally tremendous, that this test could degenerate into a love-fest of praise. They’re quick, handle brilliantly, brake instantly, and are built with the structural integrity of a beryllium molecule. We could almost put the critical blinders on, engage WordPerfect’s excellent built-in thesaurus, and let the superlatives fly. Still, though this test will draw out the subtleties and distinctions, it will lapse into a few gooey gushes. Forgive us, we’re human.
Neither the M3 nor the C36 looks particularly intimidating. Sure, they have deep front spoilers, oversize wheels, our test M3 is painted vivid yellow, the C36 has carbon fiber on its B-pillars, and they hunker seductively to the ground, but these are familiar shapes. If one isn’t conscious of the performance details, they blend into the gang of “lesser” 3s and Cs in the associate parking stalls at any Minneapolis law firm. However, their low-key decoration belies the substance of the changes within. Both the M3 and C36 emerge from a German tuning tradition that demands elegantly engineered components to complement extra power with handling and braking. That tradition has little to do with ornamentation.
Article continues at Motor Trend
The so-called “entry” level luxury segment is a very large and competitive class: the likes of BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti and Mercedes are all fighting to gain market share with their entry-level vehicles, such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Just like owners of non-luxury vehicles, buyers of entry-level luxury vehicles are expected to move up in the food chain as their net-worth grows over the years. It is no secret in the industry that if an automaker can capture an entry-level buyer today there is a good chance the buyer will purchase a mid-range model tomorrow, and possibly a top-of-the-line model in the future.
Mercedes-Benz is looking to capture more market share in the entry segment and for the 2008 model year they are launching an all-new C-Class series of sedans aimed at a younger demographic (available at your local dealer September 12, 2007).
Read more at Canadian Driver
There has been a good deal of opposition to the proposals currently under review to introduce a congestion charge in Manchester city centre during rush hour peak times. There has been significant support too for the charge, and as someone who will be voting in the current referendum on the topic, I thought I’d try to find out a little bit more about the scheme.
Firstly, the charging scheme would be far smaller than the London congestion charge - it would only apply during peak times and only in the direction of the congestion - and would not come in until around 2013, when an adequate degree of improvements to public transport have been introduced.
The charging zones would be split up into an inner and outer ring (the inner one being more expensive to enter in the morning) and would encompass the area inside the M60 - but not the actual M60 itself. The peak times (during which charging would apply) are from 7-9.30am and 4-6.30pm, with charges being levied on inbound journeys in the morning and outbound ones in the afternoon.
Discounts and exemptions will be offered for example to blue badge holders, those making frequent trips to hospitals, minimum wage workers (for the first 2 years) and others - for a full list of who would qualify for what degree of discount see the GM transport website.
The whole reason why the undertaking is being proposed in the first place is that, as anyone who lives or works in the area can tell you, Manchester faces serious congestion issues, especially at peak times. Whatsmore the congestion is not confined solely to the roads but is also a problem on public transport systems - notably buses and trains which can suffer from serious overcrowding. With the introduction of the scheme the plan is to solve both problems with one solution - as the city will then qualify for a huge cash injection from central government (via the Transport Innovation Fund) to help improve public transport services and reduce pollution.
Having looked at the map of the proposed charging area I am not suprised to see that my home is right in the centre of the inner ring, meaning I am likely to encounter the charges at some point (though probably not every day as it is only in crossing the boundary that the charges would be incurred). It is estimated that the amount payed by the average motorist will be £3, though for ones who drive during both peak windows it could be as high as £6.
Taxi drivers and other such services will naturally be granted an exemption, but what pizza delivery drivers will do for example I’m not sure (maybe the cost of a 12″ Margarita is going to absorb the blow?)
Ultimately the point is that the congestion charge represents a financially viable solution to the city’s transport problem, and even the scheme’s detractors cannot come up with a viable alternative. Manchester’s Oxford Road is daily swarming with endless streams of buses and yet most are still quite crowded at most times of the day. We urgently need a huge cash boost in order to promote public transport into the being the cheaper, quicker, cleaner and better way to travel - rather than being some form of second class transport, somehow inferior to sitting in the comfort of one’s own car.
If this is to be done the money must come from somewhere - and the TIF is at the moment the best option for it. In addition the problem of road congestion has only one other solution; lane expansion, which would represent an environmentally blind approach to the problem maybe buying us a couple of years at best. Reducing the number of car journeys is hence the only way out.
Those who feel the scheme will unfairly make them more economically vulnerable and who anticipate serious disruption (rather than mere inconvenience) can still contact GM transport and let their concerns be known - if valid there is a chance the plans will be ammended to help. Put simply, Manchester’s transport situation must change and those that advocate a perpetuation of the status quo are sadly unwilling to face up to reality. I for one will not be one of them come the referendum in December…
BMW’s biggest selling model range, the 3 Series, has been voted the most reliable car in a survey of Britain’s vehicle leasing companies. The poll, which covered the reliability history of nearly 900,000 vehicles in 2008, also revealed that BMW was the most reliable manufacturer overall.
In an historic win over the Japanese car manufacturers who traditionally dominate in reliability surveys, BMW topped the charts in this year’s annual FN50 reliability survey. The BMW 3 Series was the most rated model for reliability, with the MINI hatch and BMW 1 Series also making the top ten, sitting fifth and seventh most reliable respectively.
The survey compiled by Fleet News looked at multi-marque leasing companies. 881,000 cars were assessed according to the number of breakdowns per 100 of each type of model on each leasing company’s fleet. Points were then awarded according to the number of times that brands or particular models appeared in the tables supplied by the leasing firms and also for the position in which they were placed.
Read more at Easier.com
A special design of alloy wheel, derived from those on the Porsche RS Spyder racing car, is now available exclusively for the 911 Turbo model.
The Porsche RS Spyder sports prototype recently won all titles in the ALMS American Le Mans Series for the third time in a row. A further outstanding achievement of the Porsche RS Spyder is that it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its class this year at its very first attempt and also brought home the winner’s title in the European Le Mans Series.
Full article available at CarPages